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Whats Wrong With the Public School System
The very fact that you even opened this note means that you can read. Yet how many of you actually know how to read at the level you are supposed to? How many more are not considered literate?
To answer that question, we must first know what literacy is. According to Wikipedia, which then references the United Nations definition, literacy is “the ability to read and write a simple sentence in a language.” Illiteracy is then defined as someone “age 15 and over [who] can’t read and write.” For those of you who don’t recognize Wikipedia as a credible source, Merriam Webster defines it as “an educated person,” or “a person who can read and write.” The standard that is widely accepted is a fifth-grade reading level, yet half of American adults cannot read an eighth-grade book.
The government spends billions of dollars, your dollars, to ensure that everyone gets a good education, yet there are 21 million Americans that can’t read at all, 45 million more that are only marginally literate, and an astounding one-fifth of high school graduates can’t even read their own diploma!!! This means that a significant portion of Americans today are unable to complete simple tasks such as balancing a check book, reading drug labels, or writing essays.
Illiteracy has become such a widespread and recognized problem, that there is a correlation between a person’s literacy rate and their odds at ending up in jail. We aren’t just talking a few statistical outliers here: out all the juvenile offenders, 85% of them have reading problems. Not only that, but an astounding 60% of America’s inmates today are illiterate. It has gotten to the point that the state of Arizona, when they calculate the number of prison cells they will need, factor in the number of students who can read proficiently in the fourth grade.
Some experts would credit this deficiency in our society today to the fact that the English language has close to half a million words in it, the largest in the world. Yet a third of all our writing is made up of just 22 words. That means that if you learn to read 22 words, you can read one-third of all English writing!!!
So what is the problem here? Our government spends billions and even trillions of dollars to ensure that Americans have the best educations, so what is going wrong here? The source of the problem is the schooling system itself. In a classroom of just 20 students, which is a very generous proposal, very few, if any of the teachers will find just 5 minutes a day to read with each student individually.
Not only do we have illiteracy, but we have a separation of students based on their so-called “problems.” One of these problems, dyslexia, seems to be very common. In fact, dyslexia affects one in five children. Dyslexia and other supposed “diseases” separate children and make them feel inferior. The school systems separate these kids, and give them labels, essentially creating problem children. These children “have something wrong with them,” so they are placed in special classes. These diseases are supposedly bad, but are they? Over half of NASA employees are dyslexic. In fact, they seek them deliberately because of their problem-solving skills, as well as their amazing 3D and spatial awareness. The kids that everyone laughed at are the ones who are going to the Moon and Mars. I wonder who is laughing now?
So where does all this lead? It leads to a vicious cycle where the careers of 25-40% of American children, the next generation, are at risk because they cannot read well enough or quickly enough. This, in turn, hampers their ability to get a good job, and provide well for their family. The next piece to this puzzle is that out of all the children aged 3-5, just over half were read to daily by one of their own family. Studies are also showing that families with incomes below the poverty line are significantly less likely to read to their children. The children that have not developed just the basics of reading and writing are 3-4 times more likely to drop out of school, and in the first grade alone, students that have that head-start, have about twice the vocabulary then those who don’t. It’s a terrible cycle of illiteracy being passed from generation to generation.
The answer? Well, the ultimate solution is to get rid of the public school system. We are wasting our money on something that has a proven track record of turning out nothing but average people and failures. Our school system is costing us billions of dollars every year for repeated grades, as well as all of the lost earnings from the million children that drop out of school every year. This isn’t just pocket change. We are not only talking about hundreds of billions of dollars, but the future of this country. America’s greatest tool is its science and innovation. If we continue turning out nothing but average people and failures, we will fail as a country.
Make this your mission. Dedicate 15 minutes a day just for reading. Do what I do and start writing more. I am not just talking about little comments here and there; I am talking about picking a topic, researching it, studying it, reading books about it, and then writing about it. Give the world more content to read. Let your voice be heard, and make sure you don’t end up as one of the millions of people caught in the vicious education cycle.